In 2020, the United States saw a significant decrease in non-fatal workplace injuries, which dropped to 2.1 million from 2.8 million the year before. While the precise extent to which this reduction in workplace injuries is attributable to COVID-19 is unknown, the pandemic was undoubtedly a significant factor. It is also unclear to what extent the pandemic affected the number and rate of workplace incidents in 2021 or might continue to do so in 2022 and beyond.
However, it is reasonable to expect that, as pandemic-related restrictions are removed and life returns to normal, the construction industry will revert to pre-pandemic employment levels and beyond. It is also reasonable to conclude that, once that level of recovery is attained, the number and rate of both fatal and non-fatal workplace incidents will increase substantially.
Even with the significant reduction in the overall number of workplace injuries in 2020, the United States still saw nearly 8,000 construction workers miss at least one day of work due to an injury sustained on the job, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And, despite construction accounting for just 6% of jobs, BLS reports that construction-related incidents account for 20% of workplace deaths, or three every day. This one-fifth share of workplace fatalities makes construction the third-deadliest industry in the United States.
Reprinted courtesy of Neil Flynn, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.